At Scala, last week was dedicated to an International Development Programme we ran for GEMA Business School of Rome and Latam Business School of Mexico City. The week was a mix of lectures and visits to leading UK companies.


Clear themes emerged from our visits: driving the right culture, career planning and development as key drivers of engagement, the need to innovate.


Command and control is now an anachronism. It is outmoded and new ways of working make it impossible.  The term I use for the new culture is “shared visions, shared values and shared understanding”.  The HRDs we visited are aware that all people processes need revising to drive the right cultural messages. At Lloyd’s of London  every bit of the HR strategy is coherently and consistently designed to provide this cultural support. HRD Annette Andrews implemented the whole strategy within a year to minimse the impact and long term implications. This clarity and consistency builds pictures in people’s minds of what is expected of them, and helps them get on with it, or perhaps decide it’s not for them. Often, I find HR people tackle one process at a time to “wait and see how that goes.”  Really? With rapid change a piecemeal approach means lack of a coherent strategy.


Busuu, a very successful language learning app, also has a clear and consistent HR strategy that drives the right culture. CEO Bernhard Niesner reinforced the importance of alignment between the behaviours and values espoused at the top, and the people systems that must underpin these values and behaviours.


The key takeaways here: take a whole look at HR strategy to create close alignment with the goals and culture needed to drive the organisation forward. Be confident and implement as a whole as quickly as possible: this will add to the bottom line and speed transformation through elimination of uncertainty. Familiar concepts? Maybe.  But nonetheless critical.


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Janice Caplan

18 April 2018   

©Copyright Janice Caplan 2018